Trump appoints China critic Peter Navarro to trade post

US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed economist Peter Navarro, a fierce critic of China, as the head of a new national trade body.

He will lead the White House National Trade Council, and serve as director of trade and industrial policy.

Mr Navarro advised Mr Trump during the campaign. His books include The Coming China Wars and Death by China.

Mr Trump has also named billionaire investor Carl Icahn to become a special adviser on regulatory reform.

Mr Icahn, who will not be a federal employee, has said that US businesses are being "crippled" by excessive regulations.

A statement from Mr Trump`s transition team said the appointment of Peter Navarro showed his "determination to make American manufacturing great again".

During the election, the president-elect made trade issues a core campaign issue, criticising deals made with countries like China and Mexico.

Mr Trump has already angered China by speaking to the Taiwanese president by phone, in apparent contradiction with America`s "one China" policy.

He has also criticised China on Twitter, recently accusing it of deliberately devaluing its currency, among other claims.

The latest move came as Chinese online retailer Alibaba was placed back on the US list of "notorious markets" over counterfeit goods sales.

Alibaba Group President Michael Evans questioned whether the move was "based on actual facts or influenced by the current political climate".

Mr Navarro adapted his book Death by China into a documentary film narrated by Martin Sheen. It is available to watch for free on YouTube.

In its preamble, he urges viewers "help defend America and protect your family - don`t buy `Made in China`."

The film highlights the sustained loss of American manufacturing jobs at a time of Chinese economic growth, as well as the environmental impact of Chinese industry.

Many other economists, however, fear that aggressive moves against Chinese trade could prompt a trade war, with repercussions on both sides.

The view from China - by BBC Monitoring

Chinese media highlight Mr Navarro`s strongly held views and his earlier literature on China. Many mention his book, Death By China, which alleges that the US is threatened by China`s economic dominance.

Shanghai-based website Observer Net says Mr Navarro is well known as "an economist who advocates a tough stance on China". Phoenix News calls him a "Taiwan-friendly official".

But media largely play down any major shake-ups between the two countries.

Popular news site The Paper quotes trade official Bai Ming as saying that "appointing Navarro will of course increase the pressure on Sino-US trade" but says that "the United States` own national interests" will also be taken into account.

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